The Wild and Crazy Adventures of Sam Sonata
Music Defective - Chapter Nine


Sam Sonata
I wandered the underground of the Mirror District as if in a hypnotic state until I finally found a cracked mirror hanging on a fence near a deconstruction site. I opened it and fell upward into the mouth of Fingal's Cave, where I emerged out into the shadowy underbelly of Musictown. I couldn't tell if it were day or night based on the pale filtered light that rained down through the tracks of the New Music Express that ran high above my head.

Still stunned by what I had experienced with the Evil Dead Sex Machines and the Necrodancers, I staggered under the boardwalk, down by the sea. Far away, beyond the sea - I now realized there was still a war going on, but neither a resurrected summer breeze nor all of Sinatra's crooning could make the reasons any clearer. I longed to plunge myself into the waves - to be adrift with the Drifters - to leave this music-forsaken world behind and ascend to sublime chromatic unity. But I'm a Music Dick and I still had a job to do.

Miles Davis The streets were deserted as I stumbled uphill and through the plastic rose gardens of Spanish Harlem. There was no one else on the streets and everything was silent as a graveyard. A few lights flickered inside the Tupperware apartment cells - through the shades of one I glimpsed a couple shadowboxing, while their young son played "Marital Kombat" in his videodreams.

Black and white people mesmerized by the Cyclop's Technicolor eye sat slumbering - receiving their instructions in Norse code through the airwaves and wires.
I was hungry and tired and my mind and body and ears ached - my pipe had been lost in the riot as well as my wallet, and I had a long walk to get back to my car.

The whole undercity echoed with silence as though the underground were draped with velvet, and I made my way in a wide circular path that tightened in ever decreasing circles with each passing. There was no music - in fact there was no sound at all. I knew now that I was lost and that I had failed. Harmony was gone and, judging from the fading photograph, Melody would be completely gone within 24 hours as well.

There would never be another Brian Wilson sunset, or Aida aria to soothe my tangled mind. I would never dance the peppermint twist with a tiny dancer in the sand. No more would music speak with the bittersweet flavor of joy of our fleeting existence. Never again would intelligence, real emotions or love be expressed and felt in a song. Music as I knew and loved was gone. I sat on the curb and let my mind retreat into a void of emptiness. Coldness surrounded me and I felt it permeate the marrow of my very bones. Silent chill enveloped me and I descended.

Then I heard it - light and distant, but there nonetheless.

I opened my eyes. The sound was faint, yet strangely familiar. I stood my aching limbs up and moved closer. It was coming from several levels below - emerging from a sewer drain like steam on a winter night. I listened closely.

A sad and fragile tone - almost alone against the unfeeling onslaught of greed-filled commerce and desultory unlife - lingering in the airwaves - hovering, wavering - one moment ascending, only to fall in dispirited coils of grief and despair. The muted trumpet hovered and danced in lonely solitude - crying - singing - with all the combined pain and heartache in the world.

But what's this? Suddenly, the saxophone bursts forth in confidence and full joy, and love grows in measures to ride the ripples and save the day! Trane flowers in feathery trills and muscular striving - building a castle on the ashes and rubble of broken desires. There is love, and it is love enough to rule a planet and a man and a woman whose love holds the key, stand together before the Great Conductor and play their duet.

But then the dream fades like the last of a sunset and the little man with the toy trumpet returns - bringing with him the stars - distant, untouchable, unknowable, but still beautiful in their mystery. Having regained strength - the trumpeter returns a little more hopeful - yet still wary from the experience. I tighten my fists and feel my strength returning - burning like optimism's flame.

Thank you Miles. Thanks be to you - wherever you are, for leaving us such a beautiful gift - "Stella by Starlight."

Tune in again next week for the stunning conclusion of the Adventures of Sam Sonata - Music Detective. .
Chapters: One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Ten

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